Liverpool and Manchester City await Europa draw

Liverpool and Manchester City will discover their Europa League group stage opponents at today's draw in Monaco with both sides appearing on paper to be among the strongest of the 48 clubs involved.

The Merseysiders, who advanced after beating Trabzonspor 3-1 on aggregate, are seeded second behind defending champions Atletico Madrid in pot one and are unlikely to have any difficulty reaching the last 32 as one of the top two finishers in whichever pool they are drawn in.

Manager Roy Hodgson will have some fond memories of this competition after guiding unfancied Fulham to last season's final and he will have high hopes of a lengthy campaign with his new club.

While the Anfield outfit would fancy their chances against any of the clubs in the other three pots there are a handful of potentially tricky draws.

France's Lille, Germany's Bayer Leverkusen and Serie A side Sampdoria appear to be the strongest sides in pot two while Napoli are in the third pot.

Swiss side Young Boys, who provided Tottenham with moments of real concern during their Champions League play-off clash will be in pot four.

City, meanwhile, are in pot two and will be hoping to avoid the likes of Atletico, Juventus, CSKA Moscow, Sevilla and Porto from pot one with AZ Alkmaar and PSV Eindhoven appearing two of the more favourable top seeds to be paired with.

Pot four also includes conquerors of British clubs in the form of Rapid Vienna, who knocked out Aston Villa, and Utrecht, who accounted for Celtic last night.

Odense, who beat Motherwell, and AEK Athens, winners over Dundee United, are in pot three.

Pots for the Europa League draw in Monaco:

Pot one: Atletico Madrid, Liverpool, Sevilla, Porto, Villarreal, CSKA Moscow, PSV Eindhoven, Zenit St Petersburg, Juventus, Sporting Lisbon, Stuttgart, AZ Alkmaar.

Pot two: Steaua Bucharest, Lille, Dynamo Kiev, Anderlecht, Bayer Leverkusen, PSG, Club Brugge, Palermo, Getafe, Besiktas, Manchester City, Sampdoria.

Pot three: Sparta Prague, AEK Athens, Metalist Kharkiv, Levski Sofia, Rosenborg, Salzburg, CSKA Sofia, Odense, Napoli, Borussia Dortmund, Dinamo Zagreb, BATE Borisov.

Pot Four: Aris Thessaloniki, Rapid Vienna, PAOK, Lech Poznan, Karpaty Lviv, Young Boys, Utrecht, Gent, Lausanne-Sport, FC Sheriff, Debreceni, Hajduk Split.

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